Comments on: Mass Hallucination, Hysteria & Miracles conversation and contention, for your attention Sat, 23 Aug 2014 02:45:08 +0000 hourly 1 By: olddesertrat Sat, 23 Aug 2014 02:45:08 +0000 While I agree with your final conclusion that mass hallucination is a bullshit argument, get the impression that you are claiming that it is the non-scientific supporters making the false claim that mass hallucination is the scientific explanation.
I am 54 yrs old. From my live experience this is absolutely NOT the case. Can not think of a single time any non-scientific person claimed mass hallucination was the scientific explanation.
Have had dozens of discussions of about mass hallucination. Every person I have ever talked that used the mass hallucination theory viewed themselves as the scientific, reasonable and informed side.
My educational background is theoretical physics. Am very far biased to reason and logic. However mass hallucination theory has always appeared to me to be itself a irrational belief disguised as science. Mass hallucination can not be explained, it can not be reproduced, it has not been documented to even exist.
Example: 100 people in a football field claim to see a 300 ft disk shaped UFO with blinking lights. Two news teams show up. News teams point their time-stamped cameras at the sky were UFO is suppose to be…and see nothing. Other time stamped cameras point at crowed pointing at sky, talking about seeing UFO.
IF this happened, then I would agree it is a documented case of mass hallucination existing.
HOWEVER….to my knowledge this or similiar has NEVER happened.
If 100 people claim to see religious statues move…If there are no cameras there documenting that statues did not move…there exists no evidence that event did not happen. Eye witness accounts is all the exist. To simply discredit and dismiss eye witnesses without any other proof or evidence is itself a biased and irrational act.
Again, as a scientist, I am personally more inclined to believe that maybe there was an earth quake smaller than human perception that set up oscillating waves of motion in the statues
However…that would be my belief…NOT PROOF, NOT EVIDENCE. If I have no scientific backup proof or evidence for my theory, or belief or opinion on what happened to those statues…then my belief of what happened so no better than the religious person’s belief in what happened. Claiming my belief is “better” is itself a delusion. Exactly like using mass hallucination as a “better” explanation.

By: doug Tue, 07 Aug 2012 21:34:42 +0000 My apologies for such a delayed reply to the comments above.

Jeanette — I do see parallels to Zusne and Jones’s description of collective hallucination and persisting notions of Multiple Personality Disorder, particularly in the “therapeutic” technique of “recovered memory” treatment. Recovered Memory Therapies have proven to be a sometimes subtle (sometimes not as much) “harmonizing of accounts” between the therapist, bent upon surfacing a presumably repressed trauma, and the client who, once subscribing to the therapist’s account, feels compelled to make it fit. Confirmation bias is flagrantly encouraged in this process, and bad dreams, negative thoughts, virtually any flaw imaginable is seen as evidence of repression.
While the Fatima observer might mold the memory of retinal distortion into a distinct image of a dancing sun, so the recovered memory therapy client molds broken images of childhood — which have been “therapeutically” contextualized for her as a root of fear, phobia, neurosis, and depression — into images of abuse. Specialists in Dissociative Identity Disorder stir up a panic and then yell “Lo! In the sky!” for a living.
As Altus points out, all it takes is somebody with a vision (or delusion, or demetia) and a few “experts” in the right environment. Of course, the time was ripe at the beginning of the Multiple Personality/Satanic Panic fraud, with a perfect storm of conservative religious interests intersecting with those of some feminists and finding common ground in amplified fears of religious cults and a growing daycare culture.

By: Altus Tue, 17 Jul 2012 18:27:10 +0000 “…if an event is presumably hallucinated — how do “2 or 200 people manage to coordinate and synchronize their subjective lives?”

You know I really never thought of this. Excellent critical debunking of the notion of “mass hallucination.”

I have thought for some time that belief systems are only as successful as the host culture they are being introduced into is receptive. You didn’t have Pentecostalism catching fire in Germany but it took off like wildfire in rural Latin American where mythical beliefs flourished. It’s like heath, a virus is often only as strong as its host is weak. What I didn’t think of was how small the spark need be—someone with a vision, a few “experts” on the subject. When the culture is receptive, you don’t need and as you point out, two or more people getting their delusions from some shared supernatural event, which seems, given the nature of the brain to be impossible, just some people who are inclined to believe the myth, through shared information/bias, perhaps followed by a second wave willing to suspend their disbelief and before you know, the masses have come to believe.

By: jeanettebartha Sun, 15 Jul 2012 15:41:12 +0000 Wonderful article.

You leave me wondering if “global scale mass hallucination or hysteria” can also be attributed to thoughts as we see in the collective agreement to believe in the existence of multiple personalities/alter selves?

In the examples you highlight, could not the “destination” be the office of a psychotherapist? Surely that is where those who thought, or believed, in multiple selves flocked.